Justin Gaethje is in a very precarious situation right now. The former interim lightweight champion suffered a second-round submission loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov, in what marked the Dagestani fighter’s retirement fight. Gaethje was initially scheduled to take on Michael Chandler, however, the Highlight expressed his surprise at the announcement of Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler for the vacant title.
Gaethje secured the championship opportunity with a stoppage win over Tony Ferguson back at UFC 249 and has not fought since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. With Dustin Poirier set to fight Conor McGregor at UFC 264, and Chandler and Oliveira fighting for the title belt, it leaves Justin Geathje without an opponent and an exciting match-up.
“Let me tell you this too. Depending on how the McGregor fight happens with Poirier, something happens, Gaethje is another guy who is in position to slide in and get that title shot.”
While many believed that the winner of Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor would get the title shot, UFC president Dana White has hinted that Justin Gaethje could get another shot. However, the likelihood of that happening seems to be very less.
Who should Justin Gaethje fight next?
Gaethje’s manager Ali Abdelaziz revealed that they had asked for a potential super-fight against Max Holloway, however, the UFC did not like the idea. Gaethje has some great options ahead of him in the form of a rematch with Dustin Poirier, and a potential match-up with Conor McGregor.
However, with all the fighters booked to fight in the coming months, Justin Gaethje hasn’t been able to find a suitable opponent for his UFC return. A lot would depend on the outcome of UFC 264 and how that plays out that will determine who will face Justin Gaethje next.
With three losses and four victories in his UFC career, Justin Gaethje has quickly captured the attention of fight fans around the world and is one of the most popular fighters in the current UFC roster.
Needless to say, fans are waiting for Justin Gaethje’s UFC return and it will be interesting to see who will be his next opponent. Gaethje needs a win to get back in the winning column and should make his UFC return later this year.